As opposition by different groups and leaders of thought in the country against the federal government plan to establish Ruga settlement for Fulani herdsmen across the country gathers momentum, another ethnic group, the Mid-West Movement, has joined the strident call on the government to have a rethink in the interest of peace and unity of the country.
In a statement by the group, made up of pan-Edo/Delta (Bendel) sons and daughters, the group said: “Our attention has been drawn to the renewed plot by the federal government to forcefully or tacitly annex swaths of lands in a bid to settle Fulani herders in the Ruga settlements”, adding that “the Permanent Secretary in the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Mohammed Umar, has reiterated this untoward plan.”
According to them, “The Mid-west Movement totally and unequivocally rejects this brazen 21st century ‘colonisation’ in its entirety. We call on the federal government to immediately rescind its planned veiled colonisation of our peoples, as we enjoin the governments of our home states of Edo and Delta to reject same in clear and unequivocal terms.
“While not opposing the desire of the federal government to settle nomadic herdsmen and any other such groups whatsoever, this should be done in areas and lands that are native to such groups. The planned aggregation in whatever guise of the lands of the 12 ethnic nationalities of the Mid-West region of Nigeria, without recourse to consultation with the traditional rulers and bonafide owners of the lands is akin to an invasion.
“As peace loving people and firm believers in one Nigeria where peace, justice and equity reign, the Mid-West/Bendel peoples of Edo and Delta States firmly advise the federal government against the perpetuation of any policy that may impact negatively on the already strained national
According to the statement, “We call on the President Muhammadu Buhari, the governors of Edo and Delta States, our national legislators, leaders and the international community as well as all persons of goodwill to help keep Nigerians and its indigenous people safe.”
The group equally called for the re-federalisation/restructuring of the country based on informed understanding of best practices as well as employing the fiscal allocation provisions of the pre-1966 constitutions as useful templates.